Layout Design - Results

The choice of layout was not an easy one. Several years ago, the EMRA had approved a plan after considerable debate, but it was for a larger building, and the plan did not scale down well. Many designs were proposed, debated, and evaluated, and all seemed to be a compromise between two major desires - length of the mainline, and one track per scene. The club was very reluctant to adopt double deck construction, even though many members have built double deck home layouts.

Finally, Dave Archer provided us with the breakthrough - a two level plan that was NOT double deck. The concept could be considered an extension of John Armstrong's "mushroom", where the benchwork for the upper level is built over the aisle for the lower level. Dave's simplified aisles allowed enough room to stay with 36" aisles everywhere, and provide significant straightaways.

Work by several other members refined the concept somewhat, resulting in the sketch which was approved. The attractive characteristics of the concept are:

Often confused with "walkaround", this is a far more important feature in a multi-operator layout. Although both words describe a layout where you can walk beside your train, a walkalong configuration means that you never have to leave your train and move to another aisle to find it again.
left is south.
When facing the track from any aisle, the direction is consistent, with South to the left. This is important for maintaining the appearance of going somewhere, and is very handy for way freights who know a southbound train is due soon!
no helix is necessary to move between levels.
The long, steep grade between Monashee Summit and Edgewood is strung along the South, West and North walls of the room to provide enough run to change elevation.
the train can always be in sight (except for scenery).
There is no need to have the track disappear other than for scenic purposes.
never see two decks.
The aisles are on opposite sides of the two levels, so it is never necessary for both levels to be visible from one position.
bridges are possible on both levels.
Typical double deck layouts are very restricted on the depth of the upper deck, since anything below track level will interfere with the lower deck. Since the aisles on the two levels in this concept are on opposite sides of the tracks, depth on the upper level does not come between the lower level viewers and their trains.
one set of stairs.
Only one set of stairs is necessary to connect the levels. A crew following a through train over the entire length of the layout only has to traverse the stairs once during the run.
conventional benchwork.
There are no requirements for complex benchwork construction. The upper deck is supported on joists spanning the walls of the upper aisles. The lower deck can be cantilevered from the walls, or built with legs at the front, depending on the width of the benchwork.
continuous run on upper deck.
For the purpose of running trains for public display, a connection is made between Monashee Summit and Vernon, providing a continuous run on the north half (upper level) of the layout. Since this is the only track seen from the viewing windows, there will be more for the public to see with less effort from the operators on duty.
vast scenic possibilities.
The upper level, which is visible to the public, has large open areas for scenery. In particular, the West wall should only have tracks in the front two or three feet of its six foot width, leaving room for lots of scenery. Another way to look at this is to compare the amount of floor space allocated to aisles on the upper level with other plans.
isolated towns.
Each of the towns is in a separate aisle. This extends the apparent length of the mainline, since an engineer can't see the next town until the train is approaching.
dead end aisles at yards.
The two major yards, Vernon and Castlegar are operated from dead end aisles. This means that the yard operators will not be disturbed by crews trying to get past.
staging at both ends.
Staging yards are included at both ends of the layout, representing Armstrong to the north, and Columbia Gardens to the south.
loops at both ends.
The staging yards run into reversing loops, so that trains that leave to the south reappear from the south. For the Monashee Pacific, this means that fruit reefers sent to the south come back from the south.

EMRA Home Page | EMRA Layout Design
Last update: 2005 June 11 by